FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

World League a top priority for France - Tille

France setter Benjamin Toniutti tosses a ball to Gerald Hardy Dessources for a spike at last year's World League

Montbeliard, France, June 4, 2013 – A young, refreshed French team ‘Les Bleus’ starts its FIVB World League campaign Friday with a double confrontation at home in Montbeliard against Bulgaria. Then, they will move to Metz for a repeat to be played Sunday.


For France, the World League is a top priority this season, and has as much importance as the European championship, which will be played late August in Poland and Denmark.


"We will not approach the World League as a warm-up for the Euro 2013, but as an intense and great major competition," says Laurent Tillie, France’s head coach. "We’ll play any single game at 100 percent, to get as many victories as we can."


Laurent Tillie was appointed French coach in July 2012 to replace Philippe Blain. Since then, he has worked to build a new team with a subtile mixture of young and experienced players. Among the young players are Earvin N’Gapeth, Guillaume Quesque, Mory Sidibe and Kevin Le Roux. Bringing more experience to the team are Gerald Hardy-Dessources and Marien Moreau.


While Tillie picked his team's experience level, he also focused on the setter position, when he decided to appoint the young Benjamin Toniutti, 23, to replace former Brazilian star Rafael Redwitz, 32.


Redwitz - who played for Paris Volley and Tours in French league, Volley Forli in Italy and Odintsovo in Russia - got his French passport earlier this year. He will make his debut on the French squad for the World League.


Tillie will look for a strong start against Bulgaria in the first game. 


"Bulgaria is a very athletic and stable team, with some extraordinary high and powerful players," he said. "But the coach and his squad can't forget that Bulgaria beat France for a spot in the London Olympics last year. They will enter in Friday’s game to get revenge."


Before spending a week in Montbeliard, France played two friendly games in Italy last week. Les Bleus won twice against the Italian national team, which Tille said was, "very good preparation."

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